Results tagged ‘ Jeremy Sowers ’

If you gotta go, go now, or else you gotta stay all night

Yesterday was the first official day of spring. But here in Goodyear, it's been spring for 39 days and counting.

 

Frankly, I'm ready for summer.

 

With that notion in mind, I'm going to recharge the batteries over the next few days, and that means the blog is getting a blow, as well. We'll meet back here on Thursday.

 

In the meantime...

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • The Indians, iffy in the rotation, have to be encouraged by Anthony Reyes' spring. Not only has he avoided any trouble with that right elbow, but his ERA is now a miniscule 0.75 after his fourth outing today. He went five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with two strikeouts.
  • Kind of figured this all along, but I can't help but doubt Jeremy Sowers wins the fifth starting job. He's just far too inconsistent.
  • Mark DeRosa will start at first base for Team USA in Sunday's semifinal game against Japan. The game is at 8 p.m. ET.
  • DeRosa is 5-for-15 with a homer and seven RBIs in five Classic games. "I've played exceedingly more than I expected," DeRosa said. "I think I'm far ahead, as at-bats are concerned."
  • Shin-Soo Choo has flown all over the world to collect one hit thus far. He's 1-for-10 with a walk and two strikeouts in five games.
  • Nice to see a sellout at Goodyear Ballpark. Although, a good chunk of the crowd was clogging up the concourse for the majority of the game, because it was too hot to sit in the seats.
  • Words of wisdom from Bob Feller: "The easiest bet in Vegas is the winner of the Grapefruit League and Cactus League titles won't win the World Series. The St. Louis Browns used to always win [in Spring Training], and those were the only games they ever won."
  • More words of wisdom from Bob Feller: "What do you do when you can't hit a curveball? Get a typewriter." Yep, here I am.
  • OK, one last note from Rapid Robert. He told a story about long-ago Indians first baseman Lew Fonseca. Feller said Fonseca told him that in 1929 he held out all winter and all spring before finally signing his contract on Opening Day. Fonseca missed batting practice that day and had a nice game. The next day, he skipped it again and had another nice game. So Fonseca began skipping it every day, all year. He went on to hit .369 and win the AL batting title that season. "So much for Spring Training," Feller said. Amen to that.

~AC

This is our kingdom of days

We are now three weeks away from Opening Day. In the meantime, here’s the rundown of yet another “day that ends in y” here at Spring Training camp.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • The Indians are today’s featured team on MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days.” The first airing has already come and gone, but you can catch repeats at 11 p.m. ET tonight, and 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon and 4:30 ET on Tuesday.
  • Shin-Soo Choo did not play in South Korea’s 8-2 win over Mexico in the opener of Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at San Diego’s Petco Park on Sunday. Choo gets one day off per round.
  • Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will update the media on Adam Miller’s finger condition on Wednesday.
  • No player has improved his organizational stock this spring more than Chris Gimenez, who hit the walkoff three-run homer against the Mariners today. He’s proven he can handle his duties behind the plate, the versatility he provides with his ability to play the corner outfield spots and first base is a plus, and he’s been productive with the bat. He won’t crack the Opening Day roster, but he could be one of the first guys the Indians turn to down at Triple-A Columbus, depending on need.
  • Gimenez also won some points with fans today. As I’m typing this, the game ended about 15-20 minutes ago, and Gimenez is still down there signing autographs for fans lined up down the first-base line. He might have to walk back to the complex, as the last shuttle has likely left for the day.
  • A total of seven double plays were turned by the Indians and Mariners today. I neither know nor care if that’s a Cactus League record.
  • What’s more important is that Jeremy Sowers looked good again. He gave up a run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings. Afterward, he credited the immortal Sal Fasano with the improvements he’s made in pitch selection. Fasano encouraged Sowers to begin using his two-seamer to right-handers and his four-seamer to left-handers, which Sowers had not done previously. You can read more about Sowers right here.
  • After a slow start, the rotation battle has heated up with the recent performances of Sowers, Aaron Laffey and Scott Lewis. “You like to see what’s happening with multiple guys,” Eric Wedge said.
  • Still waiting for that big hit that announces Travis Hafner is back. He’s driving the ball consistently in BP but that hasn’t translated into the games. Hitting coach Derek Shelton said Hafner’s improvements in approach from last year to this year are noticeable. He said Hafner got into some bad habits last year as a result of the shoulder problem. 
  • Here’s a choice quote from Shelton on outfield prospect Michael Brantley: “When you talk to him, he’s not a 21-year-old kid. His stages of thought and what he watches with pitchers is advanced, and that’s going to help his progression to the big leagues.”
  • Well, now I’m done typing, and Gimenez is just finishing up. He signed for every last fan who waited and even posed for some photos. You’ve got to love that.

~AC

"This is an astronaut pen. It writes upside down."

My pen ran out of ink the other day, and I pulled out a replacement from the Marriott Courtyard.

Now, any traveling sportswriter worth his credential can be seen at all times with a pen from some form of Marriott, because A. we like free pens and B. we like Marriott points.

What’s interesting — to me, at least — is that the longest-lasting, boldest Marriott pens, by far, come from Fairfield Inns (at the bottom of the totem pole, in terms of hotel quality), while the worst, by far, come from the Marriott or the Renaissance (which rank at the top). The Courtyard falls in the middle realm. This ranking seems a bit counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

Wow. We are one month into Spring Training camp, and I’m writing about pens. If this isn’t proof that the spring schedule is too long, I don’t know what is.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Let’s shift from pens to ‘pens. Kerry Wood looked excellent yesterday, and Jensen Lewis (no runs allowed, seven strikeouts in six innings) has looked terrific all spring. This bodes well for the Tribe bullpen, which today saw the debut of Joe Smith. He also looked good in tossing a scoreless fourth against the Rockies.
  • The battle for the last bullpen spot is wide open, now that Adam Miller is shut down with that finger soreness. In a perfect world, the Indians would go with a left-hander for that job (which could be sort of a long man position), because they’re expected to have three right-handed starters. But they will go with the best arm, regardless of which arm that happens to be.
  • Kirk Saarloos and Zach Jackson are in the mix for the last rotation job, but they’ll also be considered for the bullpen. Right now, the Indians are impressed with what they’ve seen from non-roster guys like Saarloos, Vinnie Chulk and Jack Cassel. They like Matt Herges but want to get to the point of extending him over two innings (we haven’t seen that from him yet). Juan Salas could join this mix of favorites once he’s built up to pitch two innings.
  • Ed Mujica, out of options, would probably be the favorite for that job if he didn’t look so terrible in Cactus games.
  • When it comes to the rotation battle, Jeremy Sowers had his best outing of the spring, to this point, today. He went three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks with a strikeout. He appeared to have better command of his fastball, and that’s the key to his survival.
  • Cliff Lee labored again. “He got his work in,” as they say when a guy like that struggles in these games. Lee gave up four runs (three earned… though the error was his) on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in three innings. He threw a lot of fastballs. “It’s good, especially early in the spring, for a starting pitcher to throw a lot of fastballs and work to find their release point,” Eric Wedge said.
  • Grady Sizemore (groin strain) returned to the field today without incident, and Travis Hafner played consecutive days for the first time. Pronk will continue to get ramped up over the next three and a half weeks.
  • Off day tomorrow. A new Inbox will be up on the site. Go Bobcats.

~AC

None of this has happened yet

I guess what I'm really wondering in life is when Dippin' Dots will become the ice cream of the present. It's been billed the "ice cream of the future" since I was about 11 years old. That's a pretty bold and pompous claim.


637px-Dippin'_Dots_Rainbow_Flavored_Ice.jpg 

There's a Dippin' Dots stand here at Goodyear Ballpark that had no action when I walked by it during today's game. Meanwhile, further down the first-base line, the homemade ice cream stand had a line that stretched past several sections. We clearly are not living in the future.

 

Actually, given people's general love of nostalgia, if I'm the guy running the ice cream stand, I throw up a sign that says, "Ice cream of the past." That ought to bring them in.

 

Anyway, what's going on with the Indians of the... right now? Allow me to fill you in.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Very uneventful debut for Travis Hafner. He saw all of five pitches in two at-bats against Dave Bush, striking out in the first and popping out weakly in the third. He admitted he swung at a bad pitch on that pop-out and said he has work to do in the area of plate discipline. He should be back in the lineup Sunday for another two at-bats.
  • David Dellucci, also making his debut after his left thumb injury held him back, also looked a little impatient in his first two at-bats. But he cranked out a solo homer in his third.
  • Grady Sizemore will be back in the lineup Sunday. He and Hafner will split at-bats at DH.
  • Cliff Lee looked rusty against the Brewers, but, well, it's the first time out. Can't judge much off of that.
  • Jeremy Sowers, on the other hand, has looked a little rough around the edges a couple times now. He gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits wiht two walks in one inning today. "The ball's really coming out of his hand ," Wedge said. "He needs to do a better job finishing his pitches and commanding his fastball." What else is new? 
  • As expected, Shin-Soo Choo did DH in South Korea's opening game of the World Baseball Classic - a 9-0 rout of Chinese Taipei. Choo went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. The Koreans will play Japan on Saturday.
  • Here the link to an interesting article from The Baseball Analysts points out that the Indians' have been among the Majors' best teams, in terms of payroll efficiency, over the last three seasons.
  • Opening Day is one month from today.
  • I’m putting the brakes on the blog for the weekend. I’ll catch back up with you on Monday.

~AC

"No one gives us the finger! We're Yankees!"

You already know the Indians beat the Rockies today. But in the spirit of the late, great Paul Harvey, allow me to tell you "the rest of the story."

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • Adam Miller will continue to get treatment on his right middle finger for the next couple days before the Indians decide whether or not he's ready to start throwing again. He and the Indians both maintain this is not a serious problem and they're just being cautious.
  • I don't think a middle finger has caused this much trouble since George Costanza rode in a car with Danny Tartabull.
  • Kerry Wood appears to have bounced back nicely from his back soreness. He threw a second 40-pitch bullpen today and will throw live BP on Wednesday. They're targeting early next week for Wood's Cactus debut.
  • Anthony Reyes makes his spring debut Tuesday against the Royals in Surprise. He's had no elbow issues in camp thus far.
  • Cliff Lee will throw a simulated session Tuesday and will probably make his Cactus debut on Friday against the Brewers.
  • Pitching coach Carl Willis said before today's game that we'll see all five candidates for the last rotation spot at least two more times (and keep in mind Zach Jackson and Jeremy Sowers both threw in the game that followed). As the Indians increase the innings doled out to their starters, the competition will get pared down.
  • Stephen Head crashed hard into the wall while trying to catch a foul ball in the first inning of today's game, dropping him to the ground. He was looked over by head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff for a few minutes and remained in the game. He cranked out a two-run single in the bottom of the inning.
  • Gotta love Big Sal going deep in the sixth. Well, unless you're Rich Rundles, who served up the two-run jack to The Mustachioed One.
  • A new Inbox is up and running on the site.

~AC

Familiar faces around me

Aside from today's shift in scenery from the complex to the ballpark, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the arrival of Rapid Robert Feller. It's an annual rite of spring.

 

As was the case in Winter Haven, Feller will be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch and signing autographs at each and every home game at the Goodyear Ballpark.

 

You might be surprised to hear Mr. Feller has an opinion on some things. Shocker, right? He came into the media workroom and said, "Are you guys going to write about steroids this season, or baseball?" Hopefully baseball, we responded. "I'm sure Bud and A-Rod hope that, too," he replied.

 

When told Jeremy Sowers is starting tomorrow's Cactus League opener, Feller said, "If he got some upper body strength, he could do it. He reminds me a lot of Scotty Bailes."

 

Feller also told us scribes, "The last thing I want to hear is that we have great players in the Minor Leagues. I don't care. How about some great ones, right now, winning a ballgame?"

 

I guess he's not all that interested in my Nick Weglarz feature.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...

 

  • If you're in the Cleveland area, SportsTime Ohio will be broadcasting tomorrow's opener against the Giants, which begins at 3 p.m. ET. If you're not, fear not. MLB Network will be picking up and airing the STO live feed.
  • Feller was far from the only special guest at the complex today. This place has become a tourist trap. This morning, former closer Joe Borowski rolled in to take a tour and catch up with some old friends. Not only was Borowski, who lives in nearby Scottsdale, wearing the standard-issue Affliction T-shirt, he was also carrying his trademark cup of Starbucks. "I can drink as much as I want now," he joked. If you remember, Borowski's major complaint about Winter Haven was the lack of Starbucks availability.
  • Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Padres GM Kevin Towers also toured the complex this morning. And on Monday, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd (a former Indians assistant GM) rolled through. The Rockies have to be considering a move from Tucson. Only two teams (the Rockies and Diamondbacks) remain there, so their travel schedule is brutal.
  • Not a great deal to report off the five-inning intrasquad, because, well, it's a five-inning intrasquad. But Josh Barfield started a double play on the only ball hit to him at third, and he also cranked out a three-run homer. So a nice day for him.
  • Bad day for Masa Kobayashi, who had a rough third inning in which he faced eight batters and gave up three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Trevor Crowe took him deep for a solo shot, and Beau Mills added an RBI triple to the left-field corner. Eric Wedge said Kobayashi was flying open on his delivery. After Carl Willis talked with him on the mound, he tightened it up and got better action on his breaking ball -- and got out of the inning, to boot.
  • Carlos Santana put on a display in batting practice during the morning workout, and he showed off his strong arm behind the plate in the intrasquad. Santana is catching (no pun intended) attention down here.
  • The real star of the intrasquad was the ballpark itself. The plaza beyond foul territory near right field contains a Wiffle Ball field for the kids. The 8-year-old inside me is just dying to try it out.
  • The park has an incredible sound system. Some of the players are already talking about starting a petition to have the system installed at Progressive Field (they hate the sound there).
  • Then again, the people operating the system here could stand to make some tweaks. You've no doubt heard a small sampling of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" played after strikeouts in many a ballpark, and Goodyear Ballpark is no exception. It's a tired act. And the lone time it was broken up, the replacement, bizarrely, was a short dose of Blessid Union of Souls' "I Believe" when Wes Hodges went down swinging in the fourth. I'm struggling to make the connection there.

 ~AC

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